July Good News: Part 2

graduate caps
Rebecca A. Eckland

Grant-In-Aid Forms Available Online and Tuition Reduction Available for Classified Staff

With a new benefit now available, TMCC Classified Staff and Part-Time Faculty can now offer reduced tuition for their spouse/domestic partner or financially dependent children who are under 24 years old.  This program enriches our campus community, enabling increased access to education to young students as well as adults who are interested in continuing their education. 

In other words, the question of: what have I always wanted to know more about? has become literal rather than rhetorical, removing the barrier of prohibitive cost (now all they need to discover is how to remove the barrier of time.)

The new program, which will be implemented in Fall 2019, can be used for up to 15 credits per semester as long as you complete the classes for which you register and if you need to drop a class, you do so before the 100% refund period has passed. 

After this program became a reality, Admissions and Records NSHE Specialist Cynthia Olivo told her husband that he would become her success story. Although he has taken Engineering classes from UNR, his interest resides in music. Because of the tuition assistance, he can begin his journey toward an Associate of Arts by taking a Music Appreciation class next semester. 

“I was the sitting Classified Council President who worked with Dr. Hilgersom on reaching this goal,” said Olivio. “This is such an incredible opportunity to bring joy to people’s lives. Before, it was a question of being able to afford education—this is opening doors and allowing older adults and our adult children to pursue their college degree.” 

Cinch Irwin, an Administrative Assistant III in the Applied Technologies department is also excited about the new Tuition Reduction program. “I was working at UNLV when I first heard that there was a possibility [of a tuition reduction program] and I was excited to hear it. All three of my daughters have attended UNR… and my youngest still needs a basic science class, so this will allow her to take that class at TMCC.”  Irwin herself has also used the Grant-In-Aid benefit to take French and Culinary classes at TMCC.  

There are also changes to the Grant-In-Aid application process for both Professional and Classified Employees: the forms are online and can be submitted electronically. This has streamlined the process—gone are the days of shepherding a form to a supervisor and then returning to the HR Office to collect a waiver. The approval process happens exclusively over email. 

“Because I’m a veteran, I’m able to use my GI Bill to pay for school, but since becoming a Classified employee, I am able to use Grant-In-Aid,” said Sarah Jacobsen, who is an Administrative Assistant III in the Academic Support Center. “This allows me to save my GI Bill for my Master’s or even Ph.D.-level courses.  Grant-In-Aid is an enormous benefit, and I’m grateful for it. I already have plans to use it after I finish my degrees, for piano and self-defense classes. I’m super thankful and excited to have these kinds of opportunities.”

For more information about the Grant-In-Aid or Tuition Reduction programs, contact TMCC’s Human Resources Office at 775-673-7168.

Part-time Biology Instructor Joey Wilcox to Present at NIH Conference

When you think about scientific research, if you immediately imagine white lab coats, beakers, and bunsen burners, you might be stuck in the last century. As in all fields, biology has been impacted by new technologies—so much so that these days, you don’t need a lab to conduct research. 

This is the rapidly growing field of BioInformatics and where TMCC Part-time Instructor Joey Wilcox feels his scientific calling. “It’s a subject most people don’t even know about,” said Wilcox, who taught BioInformatics during the summer BioResearch program this past June. “It’s a marriage of Computer Science, Life Sciences and Statistics. It’s a way for you to be a scientist without ever stepping into a lab.” This makes “research” mobile; as a Bioinformatician, research can occur anywhere you have an internet connection--and can lessen the pressure that the environment of  a traditional “wet” lab can impose.

For two years, Wilson has attended a 3-day conference on Genomics hosted by the National Institute of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, where he noticed  BioInformatics was mentioned, but it wasn’t a topic that was explored in depth. This year, however, the organizers contacted Wilcox, and asked him to present on the topic. “It will be a generalized course on how to teach BioInformatics,” he said. “I’ll provide others with class materials that they can build in modules—so you can teach nearly any age group from middle school to medical school.” In addition to showing others how to teach Bioinformatics, Wilcox will also present on his project research (also focused on BioInformatics.) The Conference is happening on July 27-August 2; this will be the first time that Wilcox will present his work at NIH.

Wilcox, who is a Ph.D. candidate at UNR, is working toward his goal of becoming a Biology Professor.  “Presenting at this conference is a great first step in getting to where I want to be.”  A former high school teacher in Las Vegas, Wilcox used to teach biology to 200 students a day— but even then, found a way to “sneak in” a little about BioInformatics because it’s a great career option for students who are interested in science. 

“A BioInformatician is someone who doesn’t mind dappling in several topics and not becoming an expert in one very narrow field. There’s a lot of reading, programming and spending lots of time analyzing data. But, I encourage everyone to try it out,” he said.

For more information about Biology classes at TMCC, contact the department at 775-673-8251.